The digital lending platform, part of NatWest, has joined the bank’s panel of non-bank digital lenders (somewhat confusingly).
Esme, which is owned and financed by NatWest (itself part of the Royal Bank of Scotland), is a digital lending platform that allows UK-based SMEs to obtain unsecured loans up to £150,000 potentially within an hour. It was launched at the beginning of 2017.
NatWest set up Capital Connections in 2016 to help SMEs access alternative sources of capital after being unable to secure traditional financial backing.
NatWest signposts business customers to the panel of sources of finance including equity crowdfunding and marketplace lenders. There is no commission paid to NatWest as a result of any referrals to promote maximum transparency and no conflict of interest.
Alison Rose, CEO of Commercial and Private Banking at NatWest, said: “We are excited to welcome Esme Loans to Capital Connections. Esme offers customers a quick decision and almost instant funding, providing another distinct choice for the many innovative businesses in the UK. As the biggest supporter of British business, we understand that traditional funding routes are not always the best option for fast growing start ups. Through Capital Connections we’re able to signpost a broad choice of funding options through its impressive range of alternative lenders.”
Richard Kerton, Head of Esme Loans, said: “Since we launched Esme Loans last year, we have seen very positive early results – attracting almost £130m worth of businesses while receiving great customer feedback. With more than 5.5m SMEs in the UK, they are truly at the heart of the UK economy. By joining Capital Connections we hope to be able to work with even more businesses and support their growth.”
Esme is the eighth alternative finance provider to join Capital Connections, alongside Funding Circle,Assetz Capital,Start Up Loans, Seedrs, Together and iwoca. Customers can choose to contact any of the funders directly or be referred to a provider on the Capital Connections panel by their relationship manager.